The new Forbidden & Limited List for Yu-Gi-Oh! has just come into effect, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on what has and hasn’t changed with the new list. I’m also going to provide a little history about the cards involved. Many people have decried the list and complained about the changes that did or did not happen, but now we will start to see the list in action. Only now can we start to see the real changes this list will make to the game.
This time we saw four new cards added to the Forbidden list, three monsters and one trap card, and nothing come off it. Two of the new cards will hardly be missed, but many feel the other two were unfairly hit.
I’ll be covering Spore and Glow-Up Bulb together because they were often used together and formed a core part of the Plant deck for a long time, even long after people moved away from playing all that many Plant monsters in them. At the start of the format Synchrocentric, or whatever you wish to call the deck was a force to be reckoned with, but as new decks like Dino Rabbit began to emerge it started to fall by the wayside a little. These two cards were crucial to the deck, providing an easy way to generate tuners. Additionally Glow-Up Bulb could find uses outside of the Plant deck in places like Lightsworn due to his ability to essentially come back from the Graveyard for free.
The problem with both of these cards was that they were both tuners that could be revived for essentially no cost. This made synchro summons very easy, especially when combined with cards we’ll see later like Reborn Tengu.
Nowadays it doesn’t seem like it was fair on either of these cards to get banned, because the game has moved on from when they were a dominant force, however the list is usually decided a relatively long time before it is actually released, so can only adequately address cards that are known problems. The biggest factor that probably contributed to the banning of these cards was the restrictions they placed on the creation of new Plant cards. As long as they were legal any new Plant card would have to be designed bearing in mind that one or both of them could probably abuse it in some way, and this restricts the design choices placed on them. With them gone future Plant cards are freer in what they can do, without worrying about turning these cards into massive problems.
Trishula, Dragon of the Ice Barrier
Trishula, like many other cards was going to ruin the game. This didn’t really happen, although he did destroy the Duel Terminal world. Like Brionac before him TCG players were briefly allowed to use 3 copies of Trishula before being promptly dropped down to 1 when the next list rolled around. As with Brionac being allowed to use 3 never actually made that huge of an impact on the game, with extra copies usually being relegated to back up, should the first one go down, and an opportunity to make another one arise. Since Trishula is a bit harder to summon than Brionac it would be fairly rare to see any extra copies summoned.
Trishula was meant to be an even trade-off. You give up 3 monsters (-3) in order to summon a new more powerful one (+1), who then banishes a card from your opponent’s hand (+1), field (+1) and graveyard (+0), netting you an overall change of zero. However it never quite worked out this way. Decks like Plants or Agents could use cards like Dandylion, Debris Dragon or The Agent of Creation – Venus to produce additional monsters and facilitate summoning Trishula more easily, and overall leave you with more cards than you started off with, and a giant 2700 guy, who can then kill most things in battle. This will be especially easy if you’ve just cleared out their last defensive card with his effect.
Even though Trishula gained you no numerical advantage by hitting a card in the Graveyard, so many decks nowadays rely on cards in the graveyard for their plays that getting rid of one of them can seriously disrupt your opponent’s plays. Getting rid of Treeborn Frog, or a Light/Dark monster at the correct time could be devastating.
Another issue with Trishula was the fact that since it hits a card in your opponent’s hand it does not target. This means that the cards are not chosen until the resolution of the effect, so things like Bottomless Trap Hole are not quite as effective as they would otherwise be.
Trishula has also had several loops built around him involving cards like Fishborg Blaster (who is also banned), or in the Infernity deck. These loops never did seem to reach a level of consistency to completely ruin the game, but it was only a matter of time before a loop came along that did.
Ultimately I don’t think Trishula as a card was that overwhelmingly powerful, but I certainly won’t be lamenting the fact that he’s gone. Aside from the obvious strength of the card another matter that has probably factored into his banning is the fact that he was an automatic inclusion in Extra Decks. By existing Trishula was limiting the variety of cards played in the extra deck. Now with him gone some people might switch to the back up level 9 of Mist Wurm, but many others will use the free space to use something different in their Extra deck.
Trap Dustshoot has seen play for years now, but back when it was first released (in the days of terrible card translations) it saw little to no play. Admittedly at the time we had access to the far more powerful The Forceful Sentry, Confiscation and Delinquent Duo though. Eventually all 3 of these cards were banned but Trap Dustshoot still didn’t step in to fill their place. Instead it wasn’t until the advent of Gorz and Stratos that use of this card combined with Mind Crush really took off. In the OCG they had a period of time when both Gorz and Stratos were at 3, and basically every deck that could run them did. In order to counter this people started playing Trap Dustshoot and Mind Crush to either get rid of the threats before they appeared, or disrupt later plays in the case of Stratos.These cards were duly limited when the next Forbidden & Limited list came around alongside Mind Crush, but Trap Dustshoot still remained in use, because people had realised how good a card it was. Six months later Trap Dustshoot also joined them on the Limited list. Since then the card has seen more or less continuous use, with players debating over whether the advantage offered by pulling off a first turn Dustshoot outweighed the disadvantage of drawing a dead copy late game. Sometimes an entire game could turn on an early Trap Dustshoot, either ruining a key play, or giving its user enough information to control the flow of the game and gain an unassailable lead.
I feel the banning of this card is justified because the advantages of drawing it early far outweighs the disadvantages of not drawing it early. This card was also somewhat of an automatic addition for many decks. Playing it has no special requirements of your deck and it is useful against nearly every deck. If you were ever stuck for an extra card to include in your deck and Dustshoot wasn’t there yet, it was a simple addition to finish off the deck. Some people loved the card, but I’m sure many more hated the card, and in the long run I don’t think many of us will be unhappy to see the end of it.
Only two cards were added to the Limited list this time, both of them monsters, and both more of an issue for the OCG than the TCG. Several other cards were however moved up from Limited to Semi-Limited.
T.G. Striker is the Cyber Dragon equivalent for the theme, except instead of rewarding you with a big monster you get a quick level 2 tuner. Rather than being used as part of a pure T.G. theme the cards tended to be combined with other deck types, such as Agents, Inzektors or Skill Drain/Stun. Of these in the TCG the Skill Drain versions were the most accomplished version, whereas in the OCG it was Agents. I get the feeling this limitation is more due to its use in the OCG in Agent decks than anything over here, since T.G. Agents never really got much use in the West because we have Tour Guide instead. Within the Agent deck it could be easily team up with Venus to create a quick Trishula.
This limitation was quite a surprise to me, possibly because I’d been less aware of its impact over here compared to the OCG. Much like the next card on the list I think this card has been limited to tone down the Agent deck for the OCG and open up space for more deck types in their game. The biggest impact it’ll have over here is instead hitting the power of the T.G. Stun deck, one of the cheaper competitive decks out there at the moment.
The Agent of Mystery – Earth
Earth is another limitation which surprised me, because Agents have generally fallen off the map in the TCG. Earth is a very good card in the Agent deck, because not only does it search out key cards like Venus, it’s also a Tuner itself. This means that if you can protect her for a turn you could have made Trishula thanks to Venus.
With her now Limited I think many players will forgo the Agent deck now, because it’s lost a lot of its potency. If the deck wants to still be able to use Hyperion properly it now needs to run more Agents because it’s just lost 2 key cards.
I feel that both of these limitations are much more important for deck diversity in the OCG, than keeping things in check in the TCG where it mainly weakens decks that weren’t really major players.
6 new cards moved up to Semi-Limited, whilst another 2 came down from Unlimited.
Lumina, Lightsworn Summoner
Lumina got limited back when Lightsworn was a big deck, along with several other cards in the deck. Over time these limitations have slowly been relaxed because the deck has never regained the foothold it once had on the game. Much like some of the other semi-limitations on this list I think this has been done to try and push more decks back into competitiveness without overdoing it. I think they’re testing the waters here to see if they can take off more of the limitations in the future.
This will make some people consider running Lightsworn again, but I don’t think it’ll really be enough to push it back up to the top.
Marshmallon’s limitation was a relic of the old days where Konami absolutely hated stall, however nowadays they seem to be letting up on this, partly because it now no longer holds the sort of sway it once did. Currently Spirit Reaper sits at 3, and he’s slightly easier to kill, but comes with a bonus hand discarding effect. The only extra effect Marshmallon comes with is burn damage.
Nowadays we need all the help we can get to stand up to decks like Dino Rabbit and try to stall things out for long enough to mount a counter attack, although I think players will probably still stick to Reaper, because Dolkka can’t kill it.
Marshmallon has largely disappeared from the competitive game recently, and this probably won’t do too much to push it back. If it still makes little impact during this format I could see it going back up to 3. We might want to watch out for decks that could try stalling behind 2 of him and 3 of Spirit Reaper though.
As an unusual step a TCG exclusive has been hit prior to its appearance in the OCG. Ever since its release Tengu has seen a massive amount of use in the TCG, either for Synchro summoning, as a Beast-Warrior for Horn of the Phantom Beast, or just as a recurring beatstick. Recently as new decks which don’t require Tengu have grown in popularity his usage has gone down though and it seemed his time may have passed. T
his new semi-limitation severely weakens his power, since you can now only get 1 extra Tengu rather than 2. This means that if you draw both the cards are basically just vanillas. It also becomes much harder to loop the card via Pot of Avarice once you hit the final Tengu because you’ll have one less monster in the graveyard. It also means that if the initial Tengu is stopped with a card like Solemn Warning, the other one just turns into a vanilla, rather than still having one last reinforcement to call upon.
I think decks that relied on Tengu for combos will be hit quite hard by this, although T.G. Stun and Synchrocentric have already taken fairly major hits. Decks that can still run Tengu will still run him, but they won’t be as powerful anymore, and I don’t see many players sticking it out with them.
Emergency Teleport was originally limited at the end of the Tele-DAD era, where it wreaked havoc alongside Malicious and Dark Armed Dragon for several months. At the end of the format the new Forbidden & Limited list tore the deck apart and Teleport has stayed there ever since.
In the mean time Psychics have seen very little play, despite gaining a new deck type outside of the normal ones in the form of the Gusto. The only notice they got was for Mind Master who was promptly banned to avoid some stupid OTK plays. Much like Lumina I think this is to test the waters and try to make more people play Psychics again. Only time will tell whether this happens, or whether people will just use Teleport to get quick Tuners for unrelated decks like they used to.
Level Limit – Area B
Much like Marshmallon this is a relic of the old days. Last format Gravity Bind was put up to 3, and still basically no one played it. Putting Level Limit up to 2 is likely to have more or less the same effect as well, although it is the better card. It’s not only harder to stop, but it also makes monsters easier to pick off by putting them in what is usually their weaker battle position. With the advent of Xyz monsters, this can now be gotten around more easily than in the old days. Before you could be stuck with a large field of useless monsters waiting to break past Level Limit, nowadays though you can just turn them into Xyz monsters.
I find it hard to believe we’ll go back to the days of massive stall decks, even now with 2 Level Limits, 3 Gravity Binds, 2 Marshmallon and 3 Spirit Reapers. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw this card go back up to 3 next list.
Shien’s Smoke Signal
Much like Lightsworn, the Legendary Six Samurai were hit quite hard at the end of the format they became big. This put most of the players off the deck and it wasn’t really considered by many of them again until the surprise win at the Mexican YCS. Players got put off the deck because they largely just saw it as a swarm deck, forgetting that it can also be quite a powerful control deck, switching over to swarm when the time was right.
As with Lightsworn the deck was arguably hit harder than it should have been at the time, and this is the easiest way to give it a bit of power back. Gateway is too strong to be allowed at two, and Shi En would need careful consideration to be allowed at more than one. Giving the deck back a Smoke Signal adds a little bit of consistency and speed back to the deck, without giving it too much. The deck has already shown it can compete with the big decks and win, without a second Smoke Signal, so this will be a bonus for the deck.
Six Samurai has already seen a resurgence thanks to Mexico, and this will help it even more. I doubt they’ll go back to the top again, but keeping another deck in the competitive scene is never a bad thing.
Torrential going up to 2 was a bit of a surprise, but it’s been wanted by some players for quite a long time now. The game is currently filled with decks that can special summons loads of monsters in a turn, and anything that keeps them in check can only be a good thing. Unlike other cards like Royal Oppression it doesn’t allow you to special summon first, establish a field then cut the opponent’s plays off afterwards. At least not without it costing you terribly as well.
Unlike the other piece of generic mass removal in the game, Dark Hole, this card is harder to use and easier to play around. It will punish players foolish enough to overextend, and reward the sensible players who know when to push and when to hold back. Of course on the counter side to this it will probably see a rise in play of Starlight Road, which some players will use to support their overextension. It’ll be interesting to see what the counterplay between these two trap cards will be over the following months.
Along with Reborn Tengu this is the only other card to go down to 2, rather than up to 2. Ultimate Offering is one of the many cards that has gone back and forth on the Forbidden & Limited lists over time, and I’m pretty sure due to the same cards each time, the Gadgets.
Long ago they were a poweful decktype and Ultimate Offering allowed them to gain huge advantage during a slower period of the game. This meant Ultimate Offering moved onto the list. Over time more powerful, faster cards game out, and generally just gaining advantage for the sake of advantage didn’t really do much by comparison. This allowed Ultimate Offering to be allowed in greater copies again.
However with the advent of Xyz monsters you can now turn the Gadgets into cards like Utopia, or Steelswarm Roach. With the release of more and more Rank 4s the power of this card increases, and this is being done to try and limit that power. We’ll find out over the coming months if that was enough, or if Gadgets could once again be a force to be reckoned with that requires further cutting down.
Only one new card made its way back to being unlimited this time and its an old one.
Call of the Haunted
Call of the Haunted joins the club of cards that have gone from Forbidden to Unlimited, because of its decreasing importance in the game. In a slower time the card was known for reviving cards like Jinzo, Sangan or Card Trooper when it would be destroyed, and netting you a free card. Nowadays though it’s hard to even find spaces in decks for a single copy of it, let alone the 2 you could play last format. Whereas Monster Reborn is quick, and could steal the opponnent’s monsters, and Premature Burial had powerful loops, Call of the Haunted is rather slow, and harder to abuse.
Last format barely any deck outside of maybe Inzektor played the card, and I don’t see being allowed to use a 3rd copy making much difference to this.
Overall, I generally agree with the cards on the list that were either hit, or loosened up on. With all the cards that have moved closer to being unlimited I see no problem with the changes made, and expect several of them to be loosened up even more in the future if they continue to make only a limited impact on the game. With cards that have been hit, by and large I’m okay with those changes. I don’t necessarily agree with the changes made to the Plant cards, T.G. Striker and Earth, but I understand it was done to either promote deck diversity, or allow creation of a wider variety of cards in the future.
However the changes to the list are not the reasons why people are up in arms, and hating on the list, it’s the changes NOT made to the list that people are concerned about.
What the List didn’t address
There are 3 major decks that people are concerned that the list didn’t hit, Dino-Rabbit, Wind-Ups and Inzektors. Of course I could never hope to know how decisions were made inside Konami, but I’m going to give some of my thoughts on these decks.
Dino Rabbit has made a much larger impact in the TCG than the OCG, partly due to the differences in rules with regards to priority and Ignition effects, and partly due to Tour Guide. This deck may have avoided being hit due to this. Prior to the list the only ways to get a proper gauge of the power of the deck was through YCS Brighton, or via general play in the OCG. Since the deck is less powerful in the OCG this really only leaves us with Brighton to go off of. The deck performed very well at Brighton, but some of this might be down to the fact the deck seems to be especially popular in Europe. This suggested the deck might have been about to become a problem, but would it really have been fair to hit the deck after only a single major event where people had been given a decent chance to try out the deck?
Subsequent events were too late to have an effect on the list, but whilst they showed the deck to be a powerful force, they weren’t the absolute dominant force than some decks have been in the past. In addition thanks to cards like Dolkka it is one of the few decks that can successfully keep things like Inzektors and Wind-Ups in check.
Wind-Ups with their loop capable of stripping a player of their hand were meant to be the ruin of the game, and yet since they reached their current strength, even whilst backed by the TCG exclusives they have yet to take a major event. Their numbers have also paled compared to Dino Rabbit and Inzektors. For all the complaints the deck has it seems that players are already finding ways around the deck. Most decks were already playing cards like Maxx “C” which can help immensely against the loop. At the time of making the list it would have been too early to punish the deck before giving people a chance to try and handle it themselves. If it does turn out the next 6 months are ruined I’m sure we’ll see something done about it if it gets too bad. In addition the game is always evolving and releases like Galactic Overlord could change how powerful certain decks are, and add new decks to the list of the ‘top’ decks.
Much like Wind-Ups, Inzektors were going to ruin the game, but this time by gaining free cards and destroying cards on the field. Unlike Wind-Ups though, this has shown a good performance in the OCG, and so far in the TCG is only just lacking behind Dino Rabbit. At the time of making the list though, it’s likely Konami only really had the OCG results to go off of though. It wouldn’t seem all that fair to hit the deck before it had a chance to develop in the TCG.
With all three of these decks one thing that has to be realised is that just because a deck is powerful does not mean it absolutely has to be punished. If one of these decks was hit it would lead to the other two pushing ahead compared to the other weaker decks. If all three were hit something else would just come along to replace them. At the moment even if these decks are the top decks, there are still many more decks which can compete with them on nearly the same footing, and it’s not a forgone conclusions that these decks will always win. It’s far better than something like the Tele-DAD era where all you could really do was play Tele-DAD, play to beat Tele-DAD or lose, there were no other options. Nowadays you have lots of decks to choose from, and we can only hope this is still true as the format wears on.
I think we still have an interesting 6 months ahead of us, and we’ll have to wait and see how everything develops. I doubt things will get to the point where emergency measures need to be brought in, and it’s nice to have different decks that do different things to choose from before entering an event.